'Mudbound' is the best movie you'll see this year, and it's on Netflix
(image via Netflix)
The Netflix subscription fee may be rising, but if they keep producing content like this you won't hear a complaint from me.
Mudbound is worth a watch for the narration alone. The voice-overs throughout the film are as haunting as they are poetic. Even the trailer provides examples of such:
"Violence is part and parcel of country life. I learned how to stitch up a bleeding wound, load and fire a shotgun. My hands did these things, but I was never easy in my mind."
"When I think of the farm, I think of mud. I dreamed in brown."
These words were spoken by Laura McAllan, played by Carey Mulligan (Suffragette, The Great Gatsby).
We first meet Laura as a 31-year-old virgin in Memphis, Tennessee. After being courted by her brother's boss, Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke), the two marry and move to rural Mississippi to purchase an old farm.
Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan) is a tenant on said farm, along with his wife, Florence, and four children. Together, the two families - one white, one black - work the land while navigating the blurry lines of race-relations in the early-mid 1900s.
As World War II begins, Henry's brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) and Hap's son Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) enlist to join the fight overseas.
Both Jamie and Ronsel experience tragedy in the war and struggle with civilian life upon their return home. The two become unlikely friends and serve as a shimmering light in an otherwise bleak plot.
The all-encompassing 'mud' - the namesake of the movie - serves as a metaphorical representation of hopelessness. Whether it be lack of money, poor health, or run-of-the-mill stubbornness, everyone seems to be stuck in it.
There were parts of this film that were truly difficult to watch. It's not for the faint-of-heart. There were also moments of beauty and optimism. At its core, though, this was a portrait of life in the American South; blemishes and all.
Powerful performances by Jason Mitchell and Carey Mulligan lead the way, with strong support from Mary J. Blige (Florence Jackson) and Jonathan Banks (Pappy McAllan). Director Dee Rees (Pariah, Bessie) is generating serious Oscar buzz as Netflix's first real contender and it's sitting at a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Critics love this thing and I'm in full agreement. Mudbound was brilliantly done. Give it your full attention.